Close to 15,000 people died prematurely in Delhi in 2016 from illnesses linked to fine particulate matter pollution, according to a new study by researchers from India, Singapore and Thailand that assessed pollution-related deaths in 13 megacities in south Asia and China. Heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, lung cancer among adults and upper respiratory tract illnesses in children are all related to particulate pollution exposure. The study, accepted for publication in Elsevier’s Process Safety and Environmental Protection journal, found that most deaths related to PM 2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter), were reported from Beijing (18,200), Shanghai (17,600) and Delhi.
Beijing’s population is close to 22 mn compared to 18 mn in Delhi. Mumbai, which was one of five megacities considered from India, reported the fourth highest number of deaths. This is the first time the disease burden associated with PM 2.5 has been calculated for Chennai and Bangalore. In both Chennai and Bengaluru, almost 5,000 people died from PM 2.5 linked causes in 2016. Various reports have highlighted that air pollution is a problem across the country, and a growing monitoring network has only uncovered the extent of the problem.
A Global Burden of Disease report published last year estimated that 1.1 million deaths in India were linked to PM 2.5 air pollution in 2015. Air pollution- linked deaths in India could increase to 3.6 million by 2050 if no further actions are taken, according to a report published by the Health Effects Institute and Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay this year.
Jul 13, 2018 Hindustan Time